A quick culinary delight...

Monday, December 28, 2009

Well the mayhem of Christmas is behind us and The Girl With A Suitcase is already organising my next weekend getaway.  I've developed an obsession with fresh local produce and beverages (cheers!) so in the next few weeks I'll be scouting out the best locations to experience some of these delicacies.

First destination?


Southern Tasmania has some of the most incredible food experiences on offer (wine, cheese, seafood, beer) and has quickly become a gastronomic extravaganza for those in the know!   Hobart is the perfect place to drop anchor and then explore the surrounding area.

My recommendations for a quick visit?

Grandvewe Cheese Factory in Birchs Bay.  Australia's only Sheep Milk Cheesery.  You can experience up to 15 different cheeses, visit the sheep farm and enjoy platters overlooking the spectacular D'Entrecasteaux Channel.

MeadowBank Winery/ Restaurant in Cambridge.  Just 15 minutes drive from Hobart puts you on the doorstep of this multi-award winning restaurant and cellar door, it's surrounded by a sea of vines and overlooks Coal River Valley.

Next?  The Lark Distillery in Davey Street, Hobart.  The cellar door and whiskey bar overlook Mawson Place and give you the chance to sit outside and enjoy your favourite drink whilst overlooking the Derwent.


After all that booze culinary delight, you'll need somewhere comfortable to lay your head each night and recuperate, before the next days adventure.

I like to stay someplace that is full of old world charm but full of the latest modern convenience.

Here I can relax on the private balcony, sipping a James- Boag (yes, more booze but it's Tasmanian)...

and watch the boats sail in.

Upon a good friends recommendation I stay in Hobart at Kinvara House.  It was built in the 1890s but has undergone ultra- modern renovations to create a unique and spacious house with unsurpassed views of the city and Derwent River.

It offers fully self-contained luxury accommodation for up to 10 people.  That's fantastic for getting a group of good friends together or for the family.  It is designed for those who appreciate quality and privacy, with all the feel of a century old home with all the modern additions.

All located within walking distance to the city centre and famous Salamanca Place.

When you're not visiting all the gastronomic delights in the surrounding Tasmanian area, Salamanca Place is the place to go, with its daytime shopping, galleries and its evening restaurants.  It is in one of the most picturesque areas of Hobart and if you are in Hobart on a Saturday, you can't miss the Salamanca Market.

Regardless of the weather it is the place to visit for odds and ends and to taste Tasmania's famous local produce.  Food, more food.

(Insert Homer Simpson drool).

Ahhh, bliss.

More Tasmaninan experiences to come.


Dear Santa,

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Dear Santa,

Is it too late to drop you a quick note and let you know what I'd like for Christmas? I've been a very, very, very good girl this year and was hoping you could pop a little something special under the tree for me.

I can?  Excellent!

I'd like the very fashionable OP Art Suitcase from Coach.  Op-Art-coated canvas fabric, glossy black leather trim and a hot pink interior.  To die for.

A pretty pair of Christian Louboutin pumps.  The bows on these little babies turn them into special presents just for moi and the red soles are very festive, don't you think?  Practical too.

An Alain Sauser 'Star of the night' watch, so I'm never late for a flight, ever again.  White gold, equipped with sapphire crystal and black diamonds.  Heavenly.

3 return plane tickets to Melbourne, so I can spend a weekend away (and you know I deserve it) with my favourite girls.

Please ask Susan to organise our weekend away, because the girls only deserve the best.  We want a limousine from the airport and champagne and chocolates on arrival.  A little bit of bubbly is good for the soul.

Oh,  and Santa please make sure you get Susan to book 39/ 220 Barkly Street for me and the girls.  A 3 bedroom penthouse in St Kilda is the only place I like to stay in Melbourne.

Then a weekend of luxury shopping and the nightlife of St Kilda.

Oh, and Santa?  If you've been a good boy, you can come too.


The Girl With A Suitcase


Apartments by the Award Winning Last Architects...

Friday, December 18, 2009

For the stylish couples out there...

Have you ever been browsing through your favourite lifestyle magazine and thought "I'd love to stay there."

Well now you can.

The Last Villa in Sandy Bay, Tasmania is a multi award winning, architecturally designed property.  If you want it, they have it.  Stay for a weekend or a week.

"This eccentric Hobart building does double-duty as a home and B & B - all with a touch of cool." House & Garden.

We all want that little something extra when we go on holiday.  Depending on our personal style, we envision that where we're going to stay will be just a little bit special.  If you wanted bland accommodation you'd stay at a motel, right?

If you're looking for a unique property for your getaway, check this out.

The Penthouse caters for couples in eclectic European inspired interiors overlooking the famous River Derwent, Mt Wellington and prestigious Sandy Bay.

The Cruise Ship also caters to couples and  is fitted out with an eclectic mix of historic and designer furniture themed on yachting.  The apartment has stunning views of the Derwent River and beyond.

The Barcelona has a Romeo and Juliet inspired balcony and provides fresh sea air and leafy green garden views.

Voyager has a Japanese inspired, minimalist interior.  It caters to adventurous couples with a hint of Japanese culture.

Studio Last is an inspiring place to do business while you are in Hobart.  It has a drawing table, desk, kitchenette and bathroom, opening onto a deck with its own fireplace.

But what are you and the significant other going to do on your getaway?  Don't be alarmed, there's plenty for the two of you to do.

Visit nearby art galleries

Salamanca Market

Nutgrove Beach and cycleway

Sandy Bay Massage Centre

Wrest Point Casino


Bush walks

100m to the beach

Indulge in the fabulous restaurants, cafes and eateries.

Indulge, enjoy and make memories to last a lifetime.  Let the Luxury Oz Stays team create the holiday of a lifetime, everytime.



Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Well the silly season is upon us and you all know what that means.

The obligatory annual pilgrimage to see the relatives we avoid the other 360 days of the year.  Or for those that are truly blessed, the annual family vacation.

Some people want nothing more than to go home for the holidays, while others are happy to leave tradition behind in favour of a setting that's a little more relaxed, exotic and sun drenched.

One of my girlfriends is flying to London to see her parents (thanks for the strike British Airways that should make that 24 hour plane trip more pleasant) and another has saved for years to take her family to Fiji ( which has just been wiped out by a cyclone).  Yikes!  Another damn good reason to holiday in Australia.

But if you do need to travel overseas, here are a few tips from Smart Traveller.

1. Check the latest travel advice.  Always handy to know if your dream location is in the middle of a military coup or earthquake.  Makes packing easier (camouflage gear? Check.)

2. Take out appropriate travel insurance.  You do not want to be stuck in a hospital in a foreign country after the bungy cord snaps.  Really.  It's inconvenient.

3.  Before travelling overseas register your travel and contact details online.  That's so the loved ones can track you down in case of tsunami, cyclone, earthquake or if the Arab slave traders decide you'd fetch a good price.

4.  Obey the law.  Kind of obvious really.  Don't steal bar mats.  Bali jails are not fun.

5.  Check to see if you require visas for the country or countries you are visiting or transiting.  We've all seen Border Security.  Customs agents are not known for their sunny dispositions.

6. Make copies of your passport details, insurance policy, travellers cheques, visas and credit card numbers.  Leave a copy with someone at home.  Because people steal stuff.  And then you'll be stuffed.

7.  Check with health professionals about necessary vaccinations and overseas medicines.  Nothing like a few jabs to get you in the mood for a holiday.

8.  Ensure your passport has at least six months validity from your planned date of return to Australia.  Some countries will not let you in.  That would be a tad irritating after a 10 hour flight.

9.  Leave a copy of your travel itinerary with someone at home.  So they can find you.  Obviously.

10.  Before departing Australia check whether you are regarded as a national of the country you intend to visit.  If you have dual nationality (and don't even know it) you might be liable for MILITARY SERVICE in that country.  OMG.  Imagine arriving and being drafted into the army! Yikes!

So yeah, The Girl With A Suitcase recommends you follow all of these tips if you are planning on travelling overseas for your holidays.

This year I plan to holiday local.  Bit less stressful in the silly season.  Have a Merry Xmas.


Beaches (and no, not that movie with Bette Midler)

Monday, December 14, 2009

I have a confession to make. The Girl With A Suitcase is a beach holiday kinda girl. Yes, I know it's a cliche but who doesn't dream of lying on a white sandy beach somewhere, sipping on a daquiri and watching the waves roll in.

Two years ago we bit the bullet and decided it was time to visit the ultimate beach location HAWAII.  I had visions of miles of pristine beaches, the towering waves at Sunset Beach and a whole lot of daquiris.

Reality check.

It took 10 hours to fly from Melbourne to Honolulu.  The flight itself wasn't bad (thank you Jetstar for amusing the kiddies) but sitting still for that long is enough to drive anyone crazy.  And I don't sleep on planes.  EVER.

We picked up our hire car after haggling for an hour with every rental company in the airport (could have used your  help here, Susan!) and set off to explore Hawaii.

Let's just say Hawaii is...um...overrated.

There were places of genuine beauty and the kiddies had a wonderful time.

But the beaches looked like this.

And every spare inch was covered in these.

Not exactly my fantasy beach holiday, fighting for sand space with a million American tourists.

And the view from our pokey hotel room above a nightclub?  Skyscrapers.

So The Girl With A Suitcase has learnt a few things on her travels.

No. 1.  Stay local.  Sitting on a plane for hours can drive you crazy.
No. 2.  Hotel rooms and families do not mix.
No. 3.  Australia has some of the worlds best beaches!

I'm not talking about The Whitsundays.  Too many tourists and backpackers.

This beach has been voted one of the top ten in the world.

Simply stunning.

Wineglass Bay in Tasmania.

When I saw this place, I did a little happy dance.  It ticks all the boxes for a stunning, family holiday.  And look.  No skyscrapers.

Freycinet National Park and Coles Bay is located 202km north east of Hobart and is noted for its spectacular coastal scenery and its emphasis on fishing, boating, bushwalking and swimming.  Apparently Wineglass Bay is so beautiful that on the last royal visit to Australia, the Royal Yacht Britannia anchored there to allow the Queen ashore for an Australian-style beach barbeque.  So if it's good enough for royalty...

Second must have for a family holiday?  Room to move!  No pokey hotel rooms here.

Plenty of room to hide the kids away.

Freyscape is luxury accommodation and has stunning views of the water and coastline.

The kiddies love to be kept busy on their holidays.  Trust me, in Hawaii the activities were very expensive (we're talking US dollars) so it cost us a small fortune to keep them occupied.  Here they can go kayaking, mountain biking, swimming, bird watching, abseiling, surfing, fishing, heck there's even a golf course in the area to keep the hubs amused.

But we all know that The Girl With A Suitcase prefers to take it easy and indulge on her holidays.

All I need is a quick visit to the Freycinet Vineyard cellar door to pick up a few of these...

So I can relax on the pristine beach, sip a vino and take in the amazing scenery.

Only in Australia.



Saturday, December 12, 2009

Well the school holidays are finally upon us.

Seven weeks of quality family time.

God help us all.

Even though I'm actually looking forward to having all the little critters running around the house (no more school runs! No more lunches!) I know the next 7 weeks are going to be a little...um...trying on occasions.

So please, today, let's indulge and pretend there are no children. Mummy needs to relax.

I have literally found a SPA TOWN. Why hasn't anyone ever mentioned this to me? I would have moved out of the suburbs years ago! Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you Dalesford - Hepburn Springs aka Spa Town.

Located in central Victoria, this place is the ultimate word in hedonistic indulgence. Massages, treatments, pampering...no children...

Where was I?

Oh yes.

Spa Town. And I've found the most divine place to stay.

Kudos Villas. Channelling Rachel Zoe...Oh. My. God. I. DIE. 5 star luxury.

Welcome to Kudos Temple.

There are 8 Villas to choose from, all drawing inspiration from the elements essential to life. And as mummy has decided to have a zen moment, I'm showing you Kudos Temple. Just imagine soaking in that spa with a glass of wine.

Wine that you chose yourself after visiting the cellar door at Ellender Estate.

And just so the hubby and I can get re-acquainted...I bring you the Kudos Love Seat.

Throw in a little Micheal Buble and mummy is in heaven.


Enough daydreaming...let the school holidays begin!


About This Blog

The Lair sets a new standard in private, self contained luxury.

Against a backdrop of 40 unspoilt acres of forest running down to the audible break of the ocean, The Lair is perched between the forest and the sea.

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